Whether you secured an internship before COVID-19 only to have it cancelled, or are just beginning your internship search during this pandemic, there are still opportunities to gain valuable professional experience from an internship this summer. While many internships may now be remote, you can adjust your search and application process to successfully land a great position. Follow some of my tips below for guidance.
Reevaluate your summer goals.
Before jumping into your search, take some time to think about your professional goals for the summer. What skills do you want to acquire? Do you want to work with people, or individually? How much money do you want or need to make? Where do you want to work? Answering these questions will help you narrow down your search and target positions that truly interest you. Be realistic in your hopes. While you may have dreamt of a summer job in New York City, reframe your options to meet the current state of the world.
Once you’ve reevaluated your summer goals, curate your resume and cover letter to reflect your past experiences and achievements, as well as your current hopes for your summer. Be clear in your cover letter about your situation, perhaps noting that you expect to work from home due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. Clarity and transparency in your cover letter will ensure that you are a good fit for your potential employer, rather than creating false expectations surrounding your ability or desire to travel.
Many job search websites have filters to search for remote positions, including LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed. There are also sites like FlexJobs or Solidgigs, which present opportunities suited to remote or freelance job seekers. If you’re hopeful about the ability to go into an office or meet coworkers, consider positions in your hometown. In a nearby internship, you won’t be expected to pick up and move, and you may even have the chance to participate in-person in the coming months, depending on pandemic improvements in the future.
Reach out and ask for help.
People understand that times are difficult, and they’re willing to help. If you have connections at companies, don’t be afraid to reach out to them and explain your situation. Let them know that you’re looking for an internship, either at their company or in their field, and kindly ask for their support. Connections might be willing to make something work, even if it’s remote, part-time, or poorly paid. Don’t forget to show your appreciation! For more guidance on networking, check out our Tips for Networking resource.
Above all, remember to be flexible! This time is challenging for everyone, including employers. Flexibility and openness to nontraditional options will go a long way. Be open to combining multiple positions, working part-time, volunteering, shadowing, or working on a personal project. These opportunities can all be really fulfilling, as long as you commit to working hard and learning throughout the experience. Only you have the ability to make the summer of COVID-19 meaningful.